To The People of Iraq:
we offer to publish here are from the hearts and souls
of Americans to the ordinary people of Iraq, the everyday citizens
who are suffering so much.
We ask for
letters from the hearts of Americans who respond to the
thousands of children dying every month as a result
We believe that it's important to put names and faces, figuratively if not literally, on what we do in the name of love, peace and justice for all. If you are willing to include your name, your age, and where you live in what you write, please do; it may help lift a suffering heart or inspire someone like you to find their own words and heartfelt voice. We'll publish anything received with hopeful and loving messages.
Read the messages now published if you need inspiration.
What we're doing, what this is all about, why we think it's important
Bill Marx, a local businessman, highly respected and broadly known, is now traveling to Iraq to visit the people, the ordinary citizens and children, who have been and will be so severely afflicted by our Nation's policies and behavior, implicitly being perpetrated in all of our names. Bill carries with him messages of love and hope. Love for all people of all countries of the world and hope for a better world where we may all some day share in health and peace with a caring fabric of social and moral justice supporting us throughout our lives. A few close friends were moved to put words on what they found in their hearts as they listened to Bill Marx before he left for Iraq. Some of us openly shared what we wrote and soon found that the deeply personal values and feelings we expressed moved others, even those unknown to us, to find their own hearts and voices. So we thought, Why not write directly to those who so need to hear of our love? Why not put our names on what we find when we look clearly and courageously within ourselves? Why not share all this love, inspired in part by Bill's own loving courage, with the very people he's visiting? Maybe, we thought, maybe others will be inspired by what they see from us to find and raise their voices too. That's what this is all about and why we think it's important. It does work, friends. If you speak from your heart, others will hear and find their own. We can do this; we can turn things around; but only if you'll look honestly within and share what you find, to help someone else in need. That's they way it works.
How to submit a
note from your own heart to the people of Iraq
Send whatever you would like published to whitlock@BuffaloPeacePeople.org with a subject line that includes the words "of Iraq" as in "To the People of Iraq" or "To the Children of Iraq." I will publish everything I receive that arrives with "of Iraq" in the subject line on public Web pages (linked above) where Bill can easily see them and share them with all the Iraqi citizens and dignitaries he meets on his travels. The only requirement for publication will be that the contents of the note entirely reflect the profound love for all living people everywhere that Bill expresses, on all our behaves, in making his perilous peacemaking journey -- and none of the anger and violence now threatening the people he'll meet.
You may also send me messages to be published directly to Bill, to encourage him and lighten his heart. Please include the phrase "To Bill" in the subject line of those (as in "Note to Bill"). All notes to Bill will be published on the Notes to Bill section of the From Our Hearts pages already started at BuffaloPeacePeople.org along with any material Bill sends back to us.
From the site editor -- a
few personal thoughts by way of background
Most of us, as we started to explore any of the issues related to our threatened war with Iraq, started to learn things we found upsetting. We learned about the real cost, in ordinary peoples' lives and suffering, that is the human price extracted by our Nation's pursuit of violent means of solving problems. We learned that whatever the issues and their apparent importance, prices were being paid in human deaths and suffering, and in environmental destruction, that our leaders and media had been glossing over -- for no other reason, really, than that most of us did not want to know. We like the image of ourselves that the media projects. We've come to think of ourselves as world-wide defenders of freedom and democracy, protectors of the oppressed, feeders of the poor and hungry. We did not think we could possibly be perceived as horrible instruments of death and destruction -- How could that possibly be?, we asked, wanting dearly to turn away once again.
Then one day someone we knew and respected said something, or we read an article written with language and allusions that resonated in our souls, or we saw a picture of a starving child, or a video of one tottering aimlessly and numbly in shock with parents dead on the bloody ground nearby. Whatever it was, it moved our hearts in a way we could no longer ignore. It might have been hearing about the 5,000 children dying every month as a direct result of the economic sanctions we continue to imposed on Iraq, or the 500,000 children who had died some years ago from our sanctions on Iraq for some now forgotten purpose that our Secretary of State at the time found "worth the price." Worth the price? Of 500,000 Iraqi children? Is there anything on earth worth that? And it was all done in our names. Mine too. And that's when we found we had no choice but to stand up, to raise our voices and say no, not in my name, not to all these people who have done nothing to me. And with that, our unstoppable journeys of the heart had started.
Bill Marx, now on his way to Iraq as part of a Christian Peace-making Team, is making his perilous journey -- more perilous than ever, now that it appears we may start dropping our bombs in earnest before he's due to travel home -- on all of our behalves, to carry messages of Christian -- no, simply human -- love and caring to the suffering people he'll meet. He'll try hard to offer them not just his overflowing love but some small measure of hope as well. Hope for the future, hope for peace, hope for a world where ordinary people can live and raise children out of harm's immediate way.
That hope, my friends -- the only hope we have today -- lies in all of your good hearts and souls. Hearts that are awake and willing to look hard at the prices we so readily ask others to pay for the material things we all want to have. Hearts that respond with pained and caring love to the suffering that we've all been responsible for in allowing our Nation to proceed in our names while we looked away. Hearts that now are willing to speak-out in love, in empathy and in faith that we can make it stop, that we can turn it all around if we try. That's what Bill brings with him as he travels -- he carries little but our love to share with the people of Iraq.
And that's what this site and these collections of letters are all about.
Read a few of the Notes from Our Hearts presented on the linked pages. Then take a moment to reach inside yourself and see if you can find some spark of love, some glimmer of hope, some faith in your love of humanity and your God -- anything loving at all -- to offer to the ordinary people that Bill will meet on his way. And send it along so we can publish it here for the people of Iraq -- and all the world -- to see.
We'll keep publishing every note received as long as they keep coming in, whether Bill has returned or not. Maybe, just maybe, someone who has been silent until now, someone with a good heart who simply didn't know -- maybe someone like that will read your own loving words and the journey will begin for them. Please friends, help make that happen. Without your love the human carnage will surely continue -- at least in your name, if not implicitly in mine. Add a note from your own heart right now. And then find someone else caring and loving but still silent and share what you've done to help inspire them to find their own.
"In the end we will remember not the words of our
enemies but the silence
of our friends." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Web links on the Humanitarian Crisis
Please send any worthy links on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq that you find to whitlock@BuffaloPeacePeople.org.
Secretary of State Madeline Albright responds to Leslie
Stahl's question on 60 Minutes on May 11, 1996, about the deaths of over half a
million Iraqi children as a result of economic sanctions:
Stahl: "We have heard that a half million children have died… and you know,
is the price worth it?"
Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -
we think the price is worth it."
Ask yourself what it was we gained? Can you think of anything? Now imagine a large schoolyard with only 500 children; can you think of anything at all worth the price of even that many children's lives? This quote is from the AFSC IOWA PROGRAM NEWS March 2000 - http://www.afsc.org/cro/ia03003.htm - but it's not hard to verify. Simply do a search at http://www.google.com with the following words as a search string: Madeline Albright children Iraq Here's one additional link, an article published by zpub.com on then-Secretary Albright's comments along with some further background and biographic information. See http://www.zpub.com/un/un-ma.html Also see this excellent and fully cross-referenced article centered on Albright's appalling comment: http://www.fair.org/extra/0111/iraq.html
The Children of Iraq by Mark A.Goldman Revised 10/01/02 http://www.gpln.com/childrenofiraq.htm
John Pilger, The Guardian. March 4, 2000 http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,232986,00.html - Half a million children have died in Iraq since UN sanctions were imposed - most enthusiastically by Britain and the US. Three UN officials have resigned in despair. Meanwhile, bombing of Iraq continues almost daily. A dated but excellent background article. If you only have time to read one, this is it.
Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq, prepared by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a Nobel Prize winning global organization of physicians. Read the overview at their site at http://www.ippnw.org/CollateralDamage.html or print and read the entire report at http://www.ippnw.org/CollateralDamage.pdf. Or pick up a local copy if there's any problem with the primary sites..
International Study Team, “Our Common Responsibility: The Impact of a New War on Iraqi Children”, 30 January 2003, http://www.warchild.ca/docs/final_report_report_january_29v1.0.pdf Or try the alternate source for this report. Press Release: at http://www.reliefweb.int or http://www.warchild.ca/news_article.asp?ID=57: “A team of experts in health, nutrition, child psychology and emergency preparedness arrived back in Canada yesterday following an assessment mission to Iraq to investigate the impact of a new war on the more than 13 million Iraqi children. The Team forecasts a ‘grave humanitarian disaster’ in its report prepared by 10 experts from the International Study Team (IST).” “The team’s backers include more than 20 Canadian non-governmental organizations and charities.’
Center for Economic and Social Rights, Preliminary Report on the Health Consequences of a Potential War on Iraq, 30 January 2003, http://www.cesr.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&catid=538&cpid=393&pressview=1 Press Release: “A US-led military intervention in Iraq will trigger the collapse of an already fragile Iraqi public health system, leading to a humanitarian crisis that far exceeds the capacity of the United Nations and relief agencies, according to a report released today in Baghdad by the New York-based Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR).
Relief Web: Serving the Information Needs of the Humanitarian Relief Community. See http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf
War Child Canada, http://www.warchild.ca/index.asp, is assisting thousands of children and youth in some of the most devastated areas on earth. See their excellent collection of links for independent third party associations dedicated to helping children and others suffering now as a result of our Nation's behavior and policies, and related issues being discussed on the internet.
A Common Dreams editorial published in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 6, 2000, Iraq Adds Its Weight to a Sad Day of Remembrance by Robert Jensen, at http://www.commondreams.org/views/080600-104.htm "...death that continues because of an equally painful moral failure. This attack is ongoing, and it has killed far more -- at least 1 million innocent people, half of them children under the age of 5, according to U.N. studies." m a A Common Dreams editorial published in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 6, 2000, Iraq Adds Its Weight to a Sad Day of Remembrance by Robert Jensen, at http://www.commondreams.org/views/080600-104.htm
AFSC IOWA PROGRAM NEWS March 2000 - http://www.afsc.org/cro/ia03003.htm - What is behind the sacrifice of the babies in Iraq? by Jeffrey Weiss & Kathleen McQuillen "To annihilate life-sustaining infrastructure - as Colin Powell boasted "to turn Iraq into a parking lot" - is illegal ..." "Iraq is in danger of losing an entire generation. Five-thousand children per month suffer painful deaths from easily curable diseases. They die from asthma attacks, leukemia, water-borne diseases. The deaths are painful and doctors, fathers, and mothers watch babies suffer for months. Cancer patients are denied morphine. One doctor asked a U.S. delegation of physicians to refrain from another delivery of medicines because "I cannot play God anymore, to look into the eyes of parents to decide if one child should live and another die."
Depleted Uranium Munitions and Health/Environmental Impacts
Taprock Peace Center - Gulf War Casualties and 'Depleted' Uranium: An Educational Campaign Providing Resources on Radioactive, Chemical and Biological Weapons See http://traprockpeace.org/depleteduranium.html
US Foreign Policy Humanitarian Impacts Beyond Iraq
U.S. Foreign Policy, Zpub: http://www.zpub.com/un/usfp.html A good starter-set collection of links to articles on the terrible price that others pay for our policies, not just in Iraq but elsewhere in the world.
Killing Hope: US MIlitary and CIA Interventions since World War II, William Blum, 1995, Common Courage Press, ISBN 1-56751-052-3 (pbk). See supplemental review. Also see the reviews at Amazon.com but please buy locally from Talking Leaves or other local independent booksellers. "Is the United States a force for Democracy? From China in the 1940's to Guatemala today, William Blum provides the most comprehensive study of the ongoing American holocaust." - Book Jacket. This is an extensively documented history of the darker side of our Nation's geopolitical behavior. Unequivocally credible source references, often to original government documents, are provided in notes and a bibliography. This is a must-read. If you cannot afford it, email whitlock@BuffaloPeacePeople.org for possible help obtaining a copy. See also the BuffalopeacePeople Information Resources in Print page.
Frank Dorrel's site, http://www.addictedtowar.com/dorrel.html and video, What I Learned About US Foreign Policy: The War Against the Third World is an excellent primmer on the holocaust our Nation has been perpetrating in our names since the second World War. If you'd like a copy of the video and cannot afford one, email whitlock@BuffaloPeacePeople.org and ask for help.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the